Blanco Brown, BBR’s Jon Loba On Launching “The Git Up” And Bringing “TrailerTrap” To Country Radio [Interview]

Blanco Brown’s infectious viral hit “The Git Up” has music lovers across the globe getting down to what he calls “TrailerTrap,” a country-rap hybrid of 808s, guitar, some lap steel, snares, and lyrics that touch on both his rural and urban upbringing—not to mention Brown’s customized line dance for “The Git Up” that spurred #thegitupchallenge. The track follows in the wake of the recent red-hot explosion of the country trap microgenre, as evidenced by Lil Nas X’s 12-week reign atop the Billboard Top 100, with the 3x Platinum-selling  “Old Town Road,” as well as its remix featuring Billy Ray Cyrus.

Brown’s “The Git Up” is notching some impressive chart distinctions of its own. “The Git Up” has topped Spotify’s global and domestic Viral 50 chart for the past couple of weeks, and crowning Spotify charts in countries including Australia, France, and Germany along the way. The song is the most-streamed, on-demand country track this week, with 13.5 million streams, and has generated more than one million video clips on social media platform TikTok. Brown welcomed fellow BBR Music Group/BMG labelmate Lainey Wilson for an official dance tutorial video #thegitupchallenge, which has more than 4 million views on YouTube.

“When you have a true hit record, like this is, you’re trying not to get in the way of it,” BBR Music Group Exec. VP Jon Loba. “This is one is one of those once in a lifetime records. It is connecting across every demo. There is young, old, country, urban, black, white, international, domestic. There are absolutely zero barriers to this, which is the perfect opening for Blanco because, from the moment I met him, he made it clear he wants his music to have a unifying purpose.”

This week, track was released to country radio, with an official country radio tour happening in July, bolstered by early support from heavy hitters in the country radio community.

“The song was extremely catchy and fun and the man’s lyrics were totally country. Unique is an understatement!” Cumulus’ NASH Director of Programming John Shomby recalls of first hearing the track.

Prior to signing with BBR Music Group last year, Brown had already earned a Grammy nomination for his work with Childish Gambino, provided vocals on Fergie’s Double Dutchess album, wrote for R&B singer Monica, and did background vocals and arrangements on of Kane Brown’s early demos and EPs.

Blanco was raised in Atlanta, but spent his summers in Butler, Georgia (the town counted a population of 1,972 residents in 2010), and grew up soaking in both urban and country sounds. His recently released, four-song EP deftly blends the nuanced, detailed storytelling of country music with dance-ready beats as he traces his childhood in “Ghett Ol’ Memories,” and weathers heartbreak on “Georgia Power.”

MusicRow recently spoke with Brown and BBR Music Group’s Jon Loba about the viral success of “The Git Up,” and the stories behind the music on Brown’s new EP.

 

MusicRow: With this song exploding as quickly as it has around the world, how has that changed or impacted the marketing plan you had in place from the beginning?

Loba: I honestly felt like we had to build a domestic story before we could really engage the other territories. But with this success, we haven’t had to wait for that build. Instead of doing domestic US and then the world, everything is happening together. Also, usually you would build a story or a brand in the country space, and if it had a chance to work in other genres, then you take that story to the other genres. With this record, those other genres are already coming to us. They’re already jumping on board. But Blanco’s intention has always been to live in the country music space. 

With country radio, I really wanted to build a story and have radio coming to us saying, “What is this? Tell us more about it.” And then we would develop a radio plan. That’s exactly what has happened—it’s just happened at an enormously accelerated pace. The discussions we are having now with radio I thought they would happen in September or October, and that we’d go for for airplay on a Blanco single the top of next year, but we have been overwhelmed by the connection to this song.

MR: How did you discover each other?

Loba: I happened to be in LA for some meetings and Zach Katz was running [BMG] North America at the time. He and I were sitting in his office and he said, “Hey, a lawyer friend is coming in and he’s probably bringing in an urban act, so you are welcome to stay, but if you have any other work you need to get done, don’t feel like so have to stay,” so I bounced out of his office to make a couple calls. Ten minutes later I got a text from him that said, “Get in here immediately.” I walked in and Blanco started playing. I was just completely blown away. And I thought immediately what he is doing is not just genre-bending, but genre-defining. 

I said, “You can clearly do any kind of music you want, but where do you want to live?” and he said, “I want to be a country artist first.” And if you go back, there’s a YouTube video from 2006 where he’s being interviewed and they ask him about making his own music. Even then, he says he’d mix country and trap music.

MR: Blanco, how did you first realize music was something you had a talent for?

Brown: My whole family sang and played music. My dad put a guitar in my hand at age five, because he played guitar and I guess he wanted me to play. I remember growing up, listening to Tim McGraw, and Johnny Cash. My uncle wrote like little country songs and my dad would play on the guitar. But at the same time I was listening to Outkast and people like that in the hood. So I always had both sides of the genres stuck in my head. 

Really, my influences just came from being in the hood around the rap music and then in the country around the country music and then bringing country music back to the hood. My auntie lived with us and we all stayed in a two-bedroom apartment—there were like 12 of us. Brick walls and even the floors were like concrete. If you had to drill a nail in the wall, you were drilling into the brick. So growing up like that influenced my music.

MR: What were some of the early venues you played?

Brown: Me and my brothers, we were in a R&B group called Times 3 and we would play clubs that we weren’t supposed to be in, like Club 3 in Atlanta. We would come home, do homework, practice, then go do shows. People would always be like, “How are you playing these clubs?”

MR: When did you start incorporating elements of country music into your art?

Brown: I started infusing country music with it in like 2008. My friends would laugh, like, “Man, you black, you can’t love country music.” I was like, “I mean look at Darius Rucker,” and they were like, “Man he tricked everybody, he was with Hootie and the Blowfish.” I was like, “You might have a point but I’m still going to play country music.” Around 2011, I started mixing it with 808s and then starting calling it Trailer Trap.

MR: What was the process for building “The Git Up”?

Brown: I started with a lap steel, but then I played it for the first time. I made a dope couple of riffs and I picked out the riff that stood out to me most. Then I looped it and added a beat box, 808s, snares, high hats and stuff. And then after I added that, I was like, “Man, this right here so fun, it brings me so much joy.” I decided to write my dance onto that. I said, “I can write a song to this, but why not give people something to smile and have joy to, just like it’s bringing to me?”

 

MR: What was your reaction to the success of “Old Town Road,” and did its success affect the promotional plan for “The Git Up”? 

Loba: I thought we would probably have to fight to get [“The Git Up”]  through gatekeepers and I thought we would find a specialized audience. Then, I was in the Berlin airport getting ready to fly to London for C2C and I saw the Lil Nas X record  popping up everywhere on Spotify and Apple. And I was like, ‘What is this?’ When I heard it, I got so insanely excited. It was the first realization to me that we were right, there is a huge consumer demand for this. 

We had always planned to release his debut EP the week before CMA fest. But when he brought us “The Git Up,” he showed us the short video clip of himself doing the dance. We wanted to move fast, so we put that up. We knew it was going to take a couple of weeks to get it up on all the DSPs so we uploaded it directly to SoundCloud. Then it started getting picked up by creators on TikTok and Triller and Instagram and it exploded from there. I think it’s important to note that all our friends at the streaming services recognized as well that “The Git Up” would probably be a phenomenon and that it would do that on its own. So when we released the EP, the streaming services have not focused on “The Git Up.” They wanted to focus on the EP and let “The Git Up” do its own thing.

MR: When did you realize the international potential for this song?

Loba: I realized that there were absolutely zero barriers to this song was when our French office said, “Hey, we want to take this to radio.” Because France is, traditionally, such a domestically-focused market. They don’t have a lot of incoming international repertoire and when Shazam started exploding in that country and our team said, “Hey, we want to go chase this.” That sort of proved to me that this is a completely borderless, limitless song.

MR: This song has been serviced to country radio and a radio tour is happening soon. Given the success of this song on streaming platforms, why is it so important to make a concerted effort at country radio?

Loba: With Blanco, I knew from that first meeting that he wanted to be deep in that country community. Say whatever you want, you can’t say this song isn’t country. And you have behind that song a man whose actions will show our country radio family that he intends to be there. When you look at icons in our format, they usually came from the fringes. I remember with Jason Aldean, in those early days JoJamie Hahr and everyone were tearing out their hair because people were saying, “That’s not country. That’s rock ‘n’ roll.” And now Jason’s one of the biggest mainstays in country music and changed the genre along the way. It’s bold to say something like this about this so early, but I know Blanco Brown and I know his heart. I know given the opportunity he’ll be in the genre as long as he wants, and as long as the genre wants him. 

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About the Author

Jessica Nicholson serves as the Managing Editor for MusicRow magazine. Her previous music journalism experience includes work with Country Weekly magazine and Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) magazine. She holds a BBA degree in Music Business and Marketing from Belmont University. She welcomes your feedback at [email protected]

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